This installment of my OSINT-y Goodness blog is a little different. Rather than take one resource and analyze it, I’m going to go over some OSINT searching tips from a particular type of resource — wedding announcements.
Another bride, another June
Another sunny, a sunny honeymoon
Another reason is that season
For makin’ whoopee
- “Makin’ Whoopee” — Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn
June is typically known as the most popular month for weddings, at least in the United States. So much so, the Hallmark Channel has a June Wedding Movies Marathon that airs throughout the month. Plus, you’ll find wedding-themed things all over in June. Therefore, the coming weeks will be filled with plenty of wedding announcements.
It’s possible to acquire a good amount of information from a wedding announcement. Much like a death notice, it can contain the names of relatives, places of employment, and even places of worship. The same can be said for engagement announcements. According to this statistic, December is the most popular month for engagements in the United States. So, the same search strategy could be employed for engagement announcements in December as for wedding announcements in June.
But, I like champagne and wedding cake slices in those little takeaway bags, so I’m going to concentrate on wedding announcements for this blog post.
Perhaps the easiest, but not most effective, way to look for a keyword like “cybersecurity” (as an example of a type of search target) in wedding announcements is to do a general Google keyword search.
Some publications spell it as two words, “cyber security,” so be sure to add that option into your search strategy. I made “weddings” plural because that is probably a keyword in the heading name of the newspaper in which the announcement has been placed. Plus, Google will also search for it as a singular.
The general Google search, however, won’t yield great results. It definitely will not yield strictly wedding announcement results. So, you need to get a little creative.
The New York Times Weddings Section is considered by many in the U.S. to be the pinnacle of wedding announcements. It can often read like a who’s who of blue blood money or the latest Silicon Valley millionaire. For OSINT purposes, it’s kind of the “whaling” of information gathering. The New York Times wedding announcements fall under Fashion in the newspaper and individual stories can be classified as Vows or even Mini-Vows, whatever those are.
Your best bet is to just go directly to their weekly roundup of announcements and do a simple CTRL+F to search for “cybersecurity” or whichever keyword(s) you are using for your search.
If there are any matches, you’ll then have a chance to read the entire wedding announcement.
Most newspapers will have some sort of engagement and wedding announcements section. You just need to find it and employ the same research techniques. It’s just that the New York Times is the big one and an easy search.
Another place to search for wedding-related OSINT bliss is a website like TheKnot.com.
Engaged couples used to have individual websites for their weddings, and many still do. But, the current trend is to host your information on a site like TheKnot because it’s free, easy, and people are familiar with it.
Fun fact, back in the day, couples would register these LONG domain names for their wedding sites like www.davidandbriannaarefinallygettingmarriedin2002.com
(not a real site, but also not too far off some I’ve seen in my day.
Rather than bother registering for TheKnot, simply use our old friend the Google Dork of ‘site:theknot.com cybersecurity’ to see the listings that match your keyword.
Since people tend to overshare on social media, checking out something like Instagram is an easy way to cross-reference the information you’ve already gathered. A couples’ page on TheKnot will probably already list their social media account names.
You can also just search for keywords like #wedding or #weddingphotography or #justmarried — but did you think about searching #ido? (as in, “Do you take this man/woman? I do.”)
Couples may also choose an original hashtag to associate with their social media posts, like #danandcaitlinwedding (not a real hashtag). It’s likely that this information can also be found on their personalized site on TheKnot, for example. Since savvy Instagram users list about a dozen hashtags for each photo, see what people are using for wedding photos and then follow that trail.
#ido hashtag on Instagram * Photos and Videos
4.1m Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from 'ido' hashtag
The wedding industry is a $72 billion money maker. So, there are a lot of resources and sites to check out if you are doing OSINT research. I’ve given you some samples here. It’s possibly an angle you hadn’t thought about researching. But, be warned, these wedding websites can be addictive! You laugh now, but when you are up at 3 o’clock in the morning down a Pinterest rabbit hole of wedding cake toppers, you’ll remember that I warned you.
Well, the wedding DJ is now playing Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” which means this party is over. You caught a bouquet of OSINT, so go sleep with a slice of cake under your pillow and have sweet OSINT research dreams.